Hans Hansma was a horseman with an eye for a good horse and an emphasis on soundness. Breeding and raising American Quarter Horses on his ranch in Alberta, Hans sold sound horses all across North America and made sure that good horses also wound up with good horsemen on the other side of the pond.
Hans was a leader who laid the foundation for a young horse industry in his home province and expanded it internationally. Building from the ground up organizations such as the Quarter Horse Association of Alberta, the Junior Quarter Horse Association of Alberta and the Alberta Quarter Horse Breeders Group, Hans was a founding director of the Alberta Reined Cow Horse Association and also a founding director of the Alberta Stakes and Futurities Association. The ASFA developed into the Canadian Supreme, which today is the largest western performance event in Canada and has inducted Hans into the Canadian Supreme Hall of Fame. Hans promoted American Quarter Horses across the Atlantic, where he helped introduce them into major events such as Equitana and Eurocheval in Germany, Fieracavalli in Italy and Salon du Cheval in Paris.
Born February 21, 1917, Hans grew up with an instinctive relationship with horses stemming from his childhood in Friesland, Netherlands, the ancestral home of Friesian horses.
Hans and Henny Hansma raised five boys, each of whom inherited their parents’ love of horses and showed Quarter Horses in all-around competition. Three of the boys, Dave, Taco and Gerry, stayed home to run the family’s large ranching and farming operation, Bar H5 Cutbank Farms at Granum, Alberta. Gerry has won all the major Canadian cutting horse events, including the CCHA Futurity and Derby, as well as the Canadian Supreme Futurity and Derby, while Paul and Winston relocated to Texas, where both have won the NCHA Futurity and Derby. Gerry, Paul and Winston have all been inducted into the National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Fame.
Perhaps the most outstanding horse that the Hansmas bred and raised was Hicapoo, a Doc’s Hickory mare that Paul in 1994 rode to win the NCHA Derby and be horse of the year, and then become the dam of Capoo and Poosmal, both of which are six-figure earners in NCHA competition. Other prominent horses to come off his ranch are Crimson War, AQHA Champion and world champion 3-year-old stallion; Super Holly, the first Australian QHA Supreme Champion; and Future Frost, Canadian Barrel Racing Futurity champion and multiple CFR and NFR qualifier. Other horses that Hans did not breed but developed include Docs San Badger, Canadian Reined Cow Horse Snaffle Bit Futurity champion; AQHA Champion Super Holiday; and Super Poo, an NCHA money earner that became the dam of Hicapoo.
Because of horses with accomplishments such as those and because of his own achievements and accomplishments, Hans in 2002 earned the distinguished service award from the Horse Industry Association of Alberta.
Hans died June 2, 1996, but his legacy flourishes. He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2019.
Biography updated as of March 2019.